Bates Motel – The Series

imageHere’s another prequel featuring a very strange character we’ve all come to know. Welcome to the early childhood of Norman Bates, son of Norma Bates and awkward high school student who is somewhat starting his life over as he and his mother take over a hotel business in the aftermath of Norman’s father’s death.

Norman is just trying to fit in, but as we quickly see there is a lot of dysfunctionality going on in that family. It’s seems dad was a touch on the abusive side, Norman suffers from blackouts and can easily be thrown into an insane range when his mother is threatened. Not only is Norman the typical horny teen, he also seems to have a penchant for Manga and his mom. After finding a mysterious book under the carpet of a room they had to renovate to remove the bloodstains, Norman spends many hours going over the somewhat torture-porn tinged pages.

But wait, there’s more. We have Bradley who gives Norman a taste of that which he craves followed by a cold shoulder. We have Emma who’s willing to fill that void. We have cops who are versed at looking the other way when it comes to certain crimes and pot fields. And we have the estranged brother who has nothing kind to say about dear old mom, but is still willing to open fire to protect her. Oh yeah, Norman has seen some violence in his day.

And he seems to have gotten himself caught in the middle of some Asian Sex Slave ring and the mastermind wants to continue his business at the new hotel – if only he can find his special book.

This is a wild story that beginning to spin a pretty tricky web. This is another series where the same plot continues from episode to episode. Each one dugs us deeper into the muck and sheds light on all sorts of problems in Norman, his family and what is to come later.

This makes a fine partner to Hannibal. They are both working toward an end we already know and show the twisted path of what it takes to get there.It’s a pretty crazy ride if you’re willing to keep your eyes open.

Anyone else checking into the Bates Motel? What do you think so far? Do you think A&E has enough content to make a few seasons of this show?

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Hannibal – The Series

imageI’ve spent the past few days getting caught up on this new series called Hannibal. It’s somewhat surprising to see this is from NBC since they aren’t exactly known for good dramas. But this has turned out to be surprisingly good even though it may not be for the faint of heart. If you’re a fan of Criminal Minds, Dexter, Major Crimes, etc, this should right up your alley.

One of the main characters is none other than Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon. In fact, credit is given that the characters are based on those from Red Dragon. This is a prequel that leads up to the events of that time period. As a counterpart to the psychiatric insight of Lecter we have Will Graham, the slightly off-balance, nightmare riddled FBI Profiler who’s probably more unstable than the criminals he’s chasing down. And there are plenty of other characters who have their own demons. Everyone is a bit off kilter in this one.

Unlike many other shows, this one is not episodic, meaning the story runs across multiple episodes and isn’t neatly completed at the end of the hour. I much prefer this style, similar to Dexter, where a real story can come together and lots of layers can be piled on. It also means you can weave in treachery, deceit and hide secrets.

Hannibal has even hit it’s own bit of controversy where Episode 4 was held back in the wake of the events in Boston. Perhaps the timing was off for a show like this, but the content had nothing to do with those events and people who would be offended by the material or timing of the airing wouldn’t be watching it anyway. And ironically, the episode they put on instead came across as far more disturbing with the backs of victims being carved into the wings of angels. I’m not a censor, so who knows what was behind that decision.

So far, I find this show very interesting and engaging. We know who Dr. Lecter is and what he’s going to do, we’re now peering in to see if we can find out why. However, the characters don’t have any knowledge of those events, so what clues can they pick up on, if any. It makes for some interesting watching, especially with how Hannibal treats people and what he feeds them for dinner. Is that really rabbit they’re eating? The flashbacks as Hannibal speaks lead me to believe otherwise. :) How about you?

I also see Hannibal akin to the character of Dracula. He comes across as smooth, collected, sure of himself and what he’s doing. He always seems to be calm, speaks slowly and all his motions seem deliberate. It’s like he’s casting a trance on those around him.

And then there is the chaos of Will. He is akin to the “Frank Blank” from the old “Millennium” series. He sees what the killer sees, that’s his curse. It plagues and haunts him, perhaps drives him to madness. Is he any more stable than Hannibal? On the surface it doesn’t seem so.

How soon until the real Hannibal is revealed? Will his law enforcement friends see the real persona? Is he really responsible for some of the events taking place around him, or is he somehow planting the power of suggestion in other people to do his bidding?

Anyone else tuning in for Hannibal? And did you watch the uncut version that NBC thought would be too much for the audience? What do you think? Are you concerned about what you’re eating?

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Deep South Paranormal – Old Soldiers Never Die – S01E04

The team heads down to Florida to investigate a home with some unusual activity such as shadow figures, the feeling of being touched and even a sense of being held down in bed. The entire family says they’ve had experiences and seen things, with the son Cameron getting the worst of it. He’s the one that was held down in bed. He doesn’t like being in the house alone. In fact, he usually won’t go in by himself.

The investigation starts with checking out the various rooms with Jonathan feeling some pressure on his chest while lying in Cameron’s bed. It feels like something is holding him down and he gets a massive headache from the experience. Normally, this sort of thing can be attributed to sleep paralysis, but Jonathan was awake the entire time. Is there something else causing this like fumes from the wood in the house or some form of gas leak? Just putting the paranormal aside for the moment, it seems like that room needs to be checked for pollutants.

Footsteps are heard throughout the house, but that really doesn’t come as too big a surprise since the entire house is made of wood. It’s a massive log cabin and as the house settles for the night it will expand and contract making sounds like footsteps.

The investigation of the house comes to a bit of an abrupt end as Kali and Kevin hear noises in the growth as they watch the monitors. Since they’re outside you would expect noises to come from animals walking in the scrub, but the entire team assembles to search the grounds. The area surrounding the property is part of a Civil War battle and they believe the spirits are at work here.

By happenstance there is a war re-enactment going on so they borrow a trigger object of a powder bag. Keith, Randy and Jonathan try shooting the gun, giving out a Rebel Yell (Billy Idol nowhere to be found, FYI) and enacting a wounded solider. The wind picks up in the area, but that really doesn’t come across as all that odd.

What is odd is that one of the IR cameras gives out right after a dark figure appears in the woods. They capture perhaps or or two frames of something, but it has them convinced of supernatural entities.

In the end, they feel the family will have to live with the spirits and that being so close to the battleground is fueling the activity. But seriously, what evidence?

In my estimation I don’t think they were able to document any real activity. The footsteps can easily be the house itself creaking. Cameron’s room does seem to have something odd with it, but that could be a chemical reaction to the paint or other building materials. I’m sure the entire house is coated in some sort of wood protectant. Before we jump to conclusions how about you get a hazmat style team over there to make sure there’s nothing alien in the air that would be causing those feelings. Maybe their is a presence there, but I think plenty of other things need to be eliminated first.

What about that shadow in the woods? Is that something paranormal or was that the shadow of the animal they may have been chasing around the woods all night. Let’s face it, it’s the woods. There are animals out there. That is certainly more likely than the presence of a Civial War soldier.

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Haunted Collector – Lakeside Terror and Pythian Secrets – S03E09

Lake Norfork Inn

John and the team head out to the Lake Norfork Inn in Henderson Arkansas to investigate claims of people getting touched, shadow figures and the usual story of a “woman in white”. It’s amazing just how many women in white are out there. Only rivaled by the number of women in black.

As they begin the investigation, the activity seems to be centered on Room 212. In fact, as Jason and Jesslyn go to investigate they hear a slew of very loud giggles. It’s so loud that it comes across as a prank. To me it sounds like a Halloween giggle box. Jason and Jesslyn investigate and find themselves staring at someone’s missing prosthetic leg. How do you get out of the house and leave one of those behind? They also discover EMF spikes up to 36. They don’t find the source of the laughter or the high spikes which is very strange unto itself.

For the next part of the investigation, John and Jason find a ring at the bottom of the pool. It appears to be costume jewelry of some sort. Another item they discover is a hip flask. What that flask was doing in the freezer is a mystery to me, but that’s where it was stored. Oddly, when Brian brings out his Mel Meter to take some readings, the meter begins to smoke and ultimately shocks Brian leaving a burn mark on his palm. Is this the work of the paranormal or is this a piece of electronic equipment gone haywire? Even still, the Mel Meter only takes standard batteries, it shouldn’t have enough power to actually hurt someone should it?

As far as the history of the area, they learn that hundreds of farms and 26 cemeteries were flooded to make the manmade lake of the area. One of the cemeteries would have been the Maynard family plot and it would have been located in the same proximity as the Lake Norfork Inn. Incidentally, the initials on the flask that singed Brian are BM. Jason and Aimee link this to Bud Maynard who died in 1929. There aren’t any real details of his death and the team really doesn’t go looking any further.

Ultimately the team decides to remove the ring, which really doesn’t have a link to anything, but they correlate it could be the mysterious little girl that some have claimed to see. They also remove the flask. After this, the activity seems to have stopped and low and behold business is booming.

Oddly, they never go back and find the source of that giggling… I guess we’re to assume it’s from the phantom girl?

Pythian Castle – Springfield Missouri

For the next investigation they head to the Pythian Castle which was created by the Knights of Pythian. People report being touched, shadow figures and one person who was asked to castle sit was jerked out of bed by some unforeseen force.

During the investigation the activity seems to be centered in the basement and a cell door that keeps swinging open. It may even have swung itself closed. While down there, Brian and Chris have a series of Rem Pods go off as though something is coming towards them. They chase after it and end up at a hole in the wall where some previous artifacts were found. Brian climbs in and within mere seconds pulls out a medallion with German writing on it. This seems to coincide with an EVP they got which they believe was in German. Previously, the owners claimed they place was a POW camp for German, possibly SS soldiers, but a historian on the area refutes that claim completely. No POWs would have ever been there.

They do discover a William of German ancestry who was a member of the Pythian Order who committed suicide in the castle. He may or may not have served in the Franco – Prussian War where the medallion was handed out, but the team attributes it to William and feel it needs to be displayed so he can find rest. The owner does just that and the activity seems to die down.

I’m still confused on John’s methodology on when an item needs to be removed and when an item needs to be displayed. It seems a little random to me, but I’m sure there’s some sort of method to it, right?

As with most of these episodes their leaps of logic leave a lot of room for error. There are a lot of assumptions going on here. I don’t know that they really found a lot of activity at either location, certainly nothing like the owners claim. No one was pushed, no shadow figures, no one was touched or grabbed. No one was ripped out of bed that I could tell. We have an odd series of laughs which never got explained and we have a swinging cell door. And we all know a rusty cell door would never swing on it’s own.

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